True North Initiative: News Scan 05 24 17

TOP STORIES

Terror threat level raised from 'severe' to 'critical' after Manchester Arena attack

The UK terror threat level has been raised from severe to critical - the highest possible - after the Manchester Arena bombing. The move indicates that another attack could be "imminent", as well as "highly likely". After chairing a meeting of the Government's emergency COBRA committee, Theresa May announced the change, saying military personnel will help armed police officers guard key sites. (Yahoo)

Canada’s terrorism threat level remains unchanged

Canadian officials have no plans to raise the country’s terrorism threat level in the wake of a deadly suicide bombing that killed 22 people and injured 59 others at the end of a concert by U.S. singer Ariana Grande at Manchester Arena in northern England on Monday. The government of British Prime Minister Theresa May raised the UK terror threat level from “severe” to “critical” on Tuesday, the highest level indicating that further attacks may be imminent. (Radio Canada)

Former spy chief says Canada should be careful about scaling back C-51 after Manchester attack

The former head of Canada’s spy agency says the federal government should “move with caution” in scaling back new powers given to CSIS by the former Conservative government, in the wake of Monday’s deadly terror attack in Manchester, England. Richard Fadden, former CSIS director and former prime minister Stephen Harper’s national security adviser, said Canada remains at risk of terrorist attacks. (National Post)

Three arrested in Manchester attack probe

British police and intelligence agencies arrested three more suspects Wednesday in connection with the Manchester suicide bombing and moved quickly to secure key sites across the country, including Buckingham Palace and the British Parliament at Westminster. Home Secretary Amber Rudd said the bomber, identified as British-born Libyan Salman Abedi, "likely" did not act alone when he killed 22 people and wounded dozens at an Ariana Grande concert Monday night in Manchester. She said he had been known to security forces "up to a point." (CTV)

Deadly Manchester attack pushes terrorism into spotlight at NATO summit, G7 meeting

The deadly bombing in Manchester has thrust the familiar scourge of terrorism back under the spotlight as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares for high-level meetings with allies overseas. Trudeau leaves Wednesday for Brussels for the NATO leaders’ summit, the first such meeting since U.S. President Donald Trump moved into the White House. The prime minister will then jet to Taormina, Italy, for this year’s G7 gathering, before ending his foreign tour with a stop in Rome to meet Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and the Pope. (National Post)

Hardening 'soft targets' won’t stop terror attacks: experts

Security officials around the world are scrambling to harden so-called :soft targets" -- plentiful and vulnerable civilian gathering sites like night clubs, outdoor festivals and outside stadiums -- in the wake of the latest deadly bombing attack. Monday’s strike on a large arena concert by U.S. pop star Ariana Grande in Manchester, U.K., left at least 22 dead, including an 8-year-old girl. Manchester Police Chief Ian Hopkins identified the bomber as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, who authorities said died in the attack. (CTV)

Brandon police arrest man suspected of illegally crossing Canada-U.S. border

A North Dakota man has been arrested in Brandon and is suspected of illegally crossing the Canada-United States border.  Brandon police stopped the man on 10th Street, between Princess and Rosser avenues, in the city's downtown on Monday morning for a pedestrian check, they said Tuesday morning. He identified himself as a U.S. citizen from North Dakota, police said. (CBC)

Third-party election activities under scrutiny as complaints rise

The number of complaints about third-party activities during the last federal election jumped almost nine-fold over the previous one, prompting the elections commissioner to suggest an update of the rules. A spokeswoman for Yves Cote, the commissioner of Canada Elections, told The Canadian Press there were 105 complaints related to third-party activities in the 2015 campaign. (CBC)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International) 

Chrystia Freeland: The World Wants Canada Tout Tolerance, Diversity

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says the world wants Canada to trumpet tolerance and diversity. That's her plan for what is being billed as a major foreign policy speech early next month. International figures, such as former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, think that's a fine idea and about time too, in a world grappling with growing nativism, intolerance and anti-immigration sentiment — a phenomenon they lay at the feet of U.S. President Donald Trump. (Huffington Post)

'Taxing the rich' gets biggest reaction in real-time survey of Budget 2017 speech

A select group of Canadians hired to offer immediate gut reactions to Finance Minister Bill Morneau's budget speech gave the biggest thumbs-up to his pledges to make Canada's tax system fairer.  Self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, Canada 150 celebrations and a new defence plan, on the other hand, were met with a yawn and a shrug. (CBC)

Axworthy tells luncheon global group eyeing province's refugee situation

The newly-formed World Refugee Council may visit Manitoba to look at the surge in refugee claimants crossing into Canada on foot and what can and should be done about it. Its co-chairman, Lloyd Axworthy, told a lunchtime crowd at the Laurier Club Tuesday that the global organization will likely be coming to Winnipeg to look at issues surrounding the border crossing at Emerson, Man. (Winnipeg Free Press)

Video of fight with Syrian, Canadian students sparks protest at Alberta school

Educators and RCMP are trying to keep the peace at a Red Deer school after someone posted a video on social media of a fight between a small group of Syrian and Canadian students. The scuffle outside Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School on May 16 attracted online comments accusing the immigrants of whipping students and accusing school officials of not disciplining the Syrians. (Global)

Finding Home: A new life in Hamilton

There are broad smiles, big hugs and a few tears of joy — and perhaps relief — in the waiting area of the Newcomer Centre on the Fort Erie side of the Peace Bridge. Alvaro Beltran's long run from El Salvador's notorious gangs is over, for now at least, and maybe forever. The 25-year-old chef, who dreams of one day opening his own restaurant, has crossed the first hurdle to establishing a new life in Hamilton. (Spec)

The US is finally telling the public who overstays their visas the most—and it’s not Mexicans

For years, the best—and virtually only—publicly released statistic tracking illegal immigration in the US has been the number of people caught at the southern border. Now, the US Department of Homeland Security is scrutinizing a lesser known type of undocumented immigrant: the one who comes in legally. In a new report released May 22, the agency has attempted to count the people who overstayed their visas in fiscal year 2016. The results tell a different story than the border apprehension numbers, and suggest that the US should broaden its singular focus on the border to include airports and seaports as well. (Quartz)

U.S. views on NATO polarized while allied support climbs

Canadians and Americans may disagree about the appropriate level of defence spending, but a new report says they do have one thing in common — they like NATO more than they did a few years ago. New research by the Pew Center, a U.S.-based, nonpartisan think-tank, suggests increased public support for the transatlantic alliance, despite the political bashing it took from Donald Trump in the run-up to last year's presidential election. (CBC)

California Republicans fight the sanctuary state

If you're looking for Trump voters in California, look for the oil wells or the farm crops. And when you see both in the same field, you're probably in Kern, the biggest Republican county in the state. Sitting around a table at a mini-mall in the county seat of Bakersfield, a couple of old friends complain about "illegals." They're thrilled that the U.S. president is fulfilling his promise to crack down on them. (CBC)

Trump holds first face-to-face talks with Pope Francis

US President Donald Trump has met Pope Francis for a short private audience on the third leg of his overseas trip. The Vatican said after the meeting that there had been an "exchange of views" on several unspecified international issues, and spoke of the need to continue good bilateral relations. The two men have already clashed at a distance on issues including migration and climate change. (BBC)

Trump's $4.1tr budget takes hatchet to safety net

The White House has unveiled a $4.1tr (£3.1tr) budget that would take the axe to the social safety net for the poor. The plan would sharply slash food stamps, healthcare for low-income patients and disability benefits, and eliminate student loan subsidies. (BBC)

VENEZUELA: MADURO PUSHES AHEAD WITH CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES DESPITE ONGOING PROTESTS

Faced with mounting unrest, Venezuela's unpopular leftist President Nicolas Maduro vowed to push ahead in July with the formation of a "constituent assembly" to rewrite the constitution before regional elections in December. The South American OPEC member has been racked by strife, with 55 people killed during unrest in the past two months as public anger boiled over due to an economic meltdown that has left many Venezuelans scrabbling to afford three meals a day. (Newsweek)

Salman Abedi, suspect in Manchester concert bombing, described as ‘withdrawn’ and ‘devout’

The suspected suicide bomber who struck at a Manchester pop concert packed with teens was described by members of the city’s Libyan community Tuesday as “withdrawn” and “devout.” Police identified the suspect as Salman Ramadan Abedi, a 22-year-old born in Manchester to parents who had fled to the United Kingdom to escape the regime of late Libyan dictator Col. Muammar Qaddafi. (National Post)

Manchester attack: Bomber was known to UK security services

The 22-year-old behind the deadly bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester was known to security services, British Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Wednesday, as the country elevated its terror threat to the highest level for the first time in a decade. Police have named Salman Abedi, a British-born national of Libyan descent, as the bomber in the attack on Manchester Arena, which killed at least 22 people, including children. Abedi died in the blast, in what appears to have been a suicide bombing. (CNN)

FACES OF THE VICTIMS AND MISSING In Manchester Arena Explosion

Here are the faces of the dead and missing in the explosion that killed at least 22 people at the Ariana Grande concert. One of the victims was 8-year-old Saffie Roussos. It appears the body count remains at 22, but most have not been identified. Police say at least 59 were injured after a man detonated a "nail bomb" in the rotunda area. Of the 59 injured, at least a dozen were taken to the hospital and all were under 16 years old. (TMZ)

'You vile imbecile!' Fury at journalist's sick joke after 22 die at Ariana Grande concert

Manchester was placed on lockdown following an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert, with hospitals treating concertgoers who had "shrapnel-like" injuries. But David Leavitt, a freelance writer from Boston, Massachusetts, caused outrage after joking about the deceased. He tweeted: “MULTIPLE CONFIRMED FATALITIES at Manchester Arena. The last time I listened to Ariana Grande I almost died too.” (Express.co.uk)

Manchester attack: The next steps for police and MI5

For more than a decade, the BBC Home Affairs Unit has monitored every single terrorist incident, attempted or failed, that has made it into the public domain. Quite simply, most of the people we have seen dragged through the courts are not capable of this kind of incident. Many aspire to "martyrdom" and talk about building bombs. (BBC)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES 

Toronto Sun: Jihadism is a global death cult

We agree with the tweet from Conservative leadership candidate Maxime Bernier, the putative frontrunner in that contest, in the wake of the horrific Manchester Arena suicide bombing. “I am appalled by the barbaric terrorist attack in Manchester targeting a concert full of young people,” he tweeted. “We must destroy jihadi terrorism.” (Toronto Sun)

John Ivison: Time for parliament to tighten election rules on third parties and foreign money

It may never be known how much influence foreign money, wielded by hostile political advocacy groups, played in the Conservative Party’s defeat in 2015. A complaint led by defeated Tory MP Joan Crockatt claims that federal election rules were broken by organizations like Leadnow, which used money donated from the U.S. to skew the result. That may or may not be the case, and the Commissioner of Elections should look closely at the allegation. (National Post)

Lorne Gunter: Manchester reminds us that we’re all vulnerable

I’ve stood where the parents of Manchester concertgoers stood Monday evening waiting for their kids to come out of the Ariana Grande concert. No, I don’t mean I’ve stood outside the Manchester Arena. I’ve stood outside or idled in my car on the street below the Edmonton equivalent waiting for our own kids to come out from a Rihanna concert or AC/DC, Lady Gaga, Roger Waters, or any of a dozen other concerts they attended during their teens. (Toronto Sun)

Tommy Robinson in Manchester: I changed my mind about vigils today

Normally, I think the vigils they hold after every Islamic terrorist attack do more harm than good. But today, as part of the Rebel UK's coverage of the Manchester bombing, I joined with the thousands of others who came together in this city to mourn, but also to show their defiance. (Rebel)

Rachel Curran: Policy-making and the Conservative Party

As we approach the election of a new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada this weekend, this is an opportune moment to examine the health of the policy-making process in the conservative movement in Canada. After all, the modern-day Conservative Party has had no other leader than Stephen Harper, and its platforms and policies have to a large degree reflected his priorities — as informed by party members, the Conservative caucus, and the realities of governing. A new leader and would-be prime minister will need to establish his or her own direction and credibility, in part by developing policy responses to new and changing conditions in Canada and globally. (Policy Options)

Stephen J. Toope: In a darkening world, it’s time Canada moved beyond fear

We have entered a new age of anxiety, one marked by rampant distrust in institutions, experts and business-as-usual politics. In that sense, and I hope that sense only, our time echoes the 1930s, and the collapse of the Weimar Republic. During that era, political theorist Carl Schmitt – whose arguments were gladly adopted by the Nazis – suggested that the politician who has the ability to overthrow the rule of law, purportedly in the name of the public good, is the force to be reckoned with. (Globe and Mail)

Nik Nanos: Could Trudeau’s sunny days be coming to an end?

In the stock market, it’s called the technical correction. That’s when the price of a stock decreases after a run of price increases. One can easily argue that the federal Liberals are headed toward a political technical correction. Since their victory in 2015, it sure has been political sunny days with a very long political honeymoon. (Globe and Mail)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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